The amount you spend on groceries can vary from month to month, unlike a mortgage or car payment. When a budget fails one can often accuse the grocery bill. Clipping coupons and buying generic brands is thought to be good advice, but it is important to know how stores entice you to spend more than what you originally earmarked for the grocery store. Some of these strategies are so subtle that you may have never even considered them before. Look at the following information an see if you can learn to combat the store’s selling strategies and win back control of your grocery budget.

Smells and Samples: Grocery Stores usually smell delicious. The Bakery, Deli, or Fruit section are often strategically placed near the door. For the grocery store, it is important for consumers to be hungry when they shop. Smells from these sections get the consumers thinking about food and consumers always spend more when they are hungry. Free Samples in the grocery store? Delicious. If it is not a product you would normally purchase, the store just increased the amount of money you were going to spend in the store.

An easy way to solve the hunger problem is don’t shop when you are hungry. Don’t shop right before an upcoming meals, shop after lunch, instead of before dinner. Eat first, or go shopping when are not hungry. Shopping when you are full makes it much easier to resist temptation.

Overall Store Layout: Staple food items are located in the rear of almost every store. Consumers have to wander the aisles to locate items like bread and milk. Stores understand that putting staple items together would make shopping easier, but they also know that the longer they can keep you in the store, the more items you will buy. Stores also understand impulse buying, or the purchasing of items that you don’t really need on impulse alone. Stores are specifically designed to encourage impulse buying. Sale products are always featured on aisle end caps that even the most frugal customer will have to walk by.

There is obviously no way around the fact that you will have to traverse the entire store to get to your staple food items, but you can avoid impulse items by making a list of the grocery items you really need, and committing to sticking to the list before you enter the store. Get in a habit of making one trip to the store per week, instead of several smaller trips. This cuts down the time you are in the store, thus saving money for the bottom line of your grocery budget. The less time in the store, the less money you will spend.

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as buying groceries online at

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